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From the College of Natural Sciences
A Physicist’s Search for Beauty (Audio)

A Physicist’s Search for Beauty (Audio)

Here in part 2 of our continuing remembrance of Steven Weinberg, we're diving a little deeper into what we know because of him. Weinberg was one of the world's greatest theoretical physicists, and his passing last year was deeply felt not only by us here at The University of Texas at Austin, but by a broad community of scientists and science-loving people. Weinberg summed up the goal of his life's work as: "to know why things are the way they are." To him, that meant distilling the rules of physics down to their simplest, most beautiful essence.

Giant Magellan Telescope Awards Final Enclosure Design Contract

Giant Magellan Telescope Awards Final Enclosure Design Contract

Renowned engineering and architecture firm, IDOM, faces rigorous design requirements of the Giant Magellan Telescope’s enclosure to allow for unobstructed observations of the night sky. Credit: Giant Magellan Telescope – GMTO Corporation.

The partners of the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) today announced they have awarded IDOM, a renowned engineering and architecture firm based in Spain, a contract to complete the telescope enclosure design by 2024. The award follows an extensive enclosure designer evaluation and selection process based on a detailed set of criteria involving design team experience, proposed approaches to specific design challenges, incorporation of safety management in the design process, and more. The University of Texas at Austin is a founding partner of the GMT.

The University of Texas at Austin is Now Officially an Age-Friendly University

The University of Texas at Austin is Now Officially an Age-Friendly University

The University of Texas at Austin has joined the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network, which consists of institutions of higher education around the world who have committed themselves to including adults of all ages in their programs and policies.

Alumna Earns Top Honor Linked to Stable Isotope Research

Alumna Earns Top Honor Linked to Stable Isotope Research

Marilyn Fogel, an alumna of The University of Texas at Austin, was selected for the Victor Moritz Goldschmidt Award, the highest honor in geochemistry given annually to one scientist by the Geochemical Society.

Introducing a New Graduate Portfolio in Computational Medicine

Introducing a New Graduate Portfolio in Computational Medicine

A new Graduate Portfolio in Computational Medicine combines novel and existing courses from across the University of Texas at Austin to create a unique program in a rapidly expanding medical field.

Dried Bacteria Could Revolutionize Testing, Laboratory Science

Dried Bacteria Could Revolutionize Testing, Laboratory Science

When you think of the type of labs driving biomedical discoveries, you may envision beakers and test tubes filled with a rainbow of chemicals, where much of the magic of scientific experimentation takes place. However, those chemicals are expensive. Pure forms can be difficult to manufacture, ship and store, and they often have to be ordered in very large quantities, which creates barriers to scientific experimentation and advancement.

Gene Editing Gets Safer Thanks to Redesigned Protein

Gene Editing Gets Safer Thanks to Redesigned Protein

UT Austin researchers were surprised to discover that when Cas9 encounters a mismatch in a certain part of the DNA (red and green), instead of giving up and moving on, it has a finger-like structure (cyan) that swoops in and holds on to the DNA, making it act as if it were the correct sequence. Credit: Jack Bravo/University of Texas at Austin.

One of the grand challenges with using CRISPR-based gene editing on humans is that the molecular machinery sometimes makes changes to the wrong section of a host's genome, creating the possibility that an attempt to repair a genetic mutation in one spot in the genome could accidentally create a dangerous new mutation in another.

Wildflower Center Executive Director Selected

Wildflower Center Executive Director Selected

Lee Clippard at the Wildflower Center. Credit: John W. Clark

Lee Clippard has been selected to serve as executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the official botanic garden and arboretum of Texas. Clippard has been interim director since May and previously worked for seven years in Center leadership, serving as deputy director and the head of communications and guest experience.

Some Trees May Play an Outsized Role in the Fight on Global Warming

Some Trees May Play an Outsized Role in the Fight on Global Warming

Black locust trees have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria that allow them to access nitrogen, which is critical for growth. Credit: iStock.

As greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide continue to pile up in the atmosphere, the world is experiencing more destructive extreme weather events like hurricanes, heatwaves, floods and droughts. A new study, published earlier this month in the scientific journal Nature Plants, finds that as Earth continues to warm, a certain group of trees, called nitrogen-fixing trees, may be able to help forests remove more heat-trapping CO2 from the atmosphere than previously thought.

Remembering and Celebrating UT Austin’s First Black Math Ph.D.s

Remembering and Celebrating UT Austin’s First Black Math Ph.D.s

For decades, the number of Black students pursuing STEM degrees has been increasing nationally, but in the 1960s in UT Austin graduate programs, it was a different story. The small group of African Americans pursuing science and math doctoral degrees then were true trailblazers. This month, the College of Natural Sciences learned of the recent passing of one of them, doctoral mathematician Llayron Clarkson, who was 97. In addition to being an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin's mathematics Ph.D. program, Clarkson was a former top academic leader at Texas Southern University.